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Learn About Elusive, Mysterious Alaska Sharks

Keeping shark populations healthy is an important part of ecosystem-based management for sustainable fisheries and resilient fishing communities. But getting the information needed to effectively manage Pacific sleeper sharks, salmon sharks, and other large Alaska sharks is challenging.

“Data on these sharks are hard to get. They’re so big! It’s not always possible to safely land or transport them back to shore for sampling,” said Cindy Tribuzio, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Fisheries Science Center. “There is so much unknown. Every bit of new knowledge we can obtain makes a big difference to how we manage them.”

Alaskan fishermen are stepping up to help collect the data needed to better understand large sharks in Alaska waters. A collaborative project led by Tribuzio is innovating the use of electronic monitoring (EM) technology and machine learning to collect information from sharks incidentally caught by longline and trawl fishing vessels. As part of that research, fishermen are voluntarily taking biological measurements and samples.

“The information they are collecting will contribute to more accurate assessments and more effective management of shark populations,” Tribuzio said. “Ultimately, that means more stable, better-managed fisheries overall.”

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